Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


image preview



Date Created

c. 1910


Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses


Silk faille, machine-made cotton lace


c. 1910. Cream silk faille one-piece dress with an overlay of machine-embroidered net, opening in back, with a square neckline, elbow-length sleeves, floor-length skirt, and two long pendant silk faille fabric elements at center back.

The bodice has a cotton lining, made of four pieces: two front panels sewn together at center that wrap around the sides and have one bust dart each, and two back panels with one shorter dart each and a center-back opening. The silk bodice has a very different structure and is made with just one panel, 100.3 cm / 39.5 in. wide, that wraps around the torso from front to back and has only shoulder seams. It is shaped by one pleat going from front waist to back waist over each shoulder. An overlay of machine-embroidered net lace follows the contours of the bodice exactly, likely added to the silk before the bodice was constructed. This, however, is in three pieces; one narrow trapezoid fills center front and is flanked by two larger pieces of the net lace that then continue around to the back opening of the bodice. The flanking pieces deliberately use the lace’s scalloped borders as a design element, oriented toward each other as vertical trim from the waist to the square neckline, then a separate length of the scalloped edge oriented outward is placed over each shoulder. The fitted elbow-length sleeves have the same net overlay.

The skirt is unlined and is made with five gored panels knife pleated toward the back at the seams. A one-piece overlay of the machine-embroidered net lace is draped over it, 61 cm / 24 in. long at center front and angling lower at its center-back seam to a point 82.6 cm / 32.5 in. long. The center-back opening of the dress reaches from the neckline into the skirt and is 58.4 cm / 23 in. long, closed with fourteen snaps.

The neckline, cuffs, and waist are trimmed with 7.6 cm / 3 in. wide bands of embroidered chemical lace. In back, two lengths of cream silk faille, 26 cm / 10.25 in. wide and 88.3 cm / 34.75 in. long, are each ruched at the top into two puffs and one knot and finished with knotted fringe at the hems, and are sewn to the back waist flanking the opening. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.


Bust: 86.4 cm / 34 in.
Waist: 63.5 cm / 25 in.
Shoulder: 8.9 cm / 3.5 in.
Sleeve: 26.7 cm / 10.5 in.
Hem (dress): 251.5 cm / 99 in.
Hem (overlay): 165.1 cm / 65 in.
Length: 143.5 cm / 56.5 in.

Museum Number



University of New Hampshire Library


Astrida Schaeffer, photographer/curator

Date Digitized


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


The Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection digital catalog was produced by the UNH Library Digital Collection Initiative, supported in part by a grant from the Mooseplate program and New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Additional funding provided by the E. Ruth Buxton Stephenson Memorial Fund.
Photography copyright, Astrida Schaeffer.


Dresses, c. 1910, One-piece dresses, Silk faille, Cream (color), Machine-embroidered net lace, Chemical lace, Back opening, Square neckline, Elbow-length sleeves, Fitted sleeves, Floor-length skirt, Pendant fabric elements, Darts, Scalloping, Knife pleats, Snaps, Fringe, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn